One of the advantages of apartment living is being free of expensive home maintenance repair bills! However, just because your landlord handles major repairs doesn’t mean you should neglect home maintenance in your apartment entirely. These apartment maintenance tips can help improve your quality of life and enjoy apartment living even more!
Checking Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
While it is your landlord’s responsibility to install Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors, if needed; once the alarms are installed and working properly, it’s the renter’s responsibility to maintain these alarms. According to the US Fire Administration, smoke alarms should be tested monthly to ensure they are in working order. You should also replace the battery, or backup battery, at least once every year.
Keeping the Rental Clean:
Keeping your apartment clean is not only a good idea for your own quality of life, but is expected due to tenant regulations and leasing agreements. While it may seem that your apartment cleanliness shouldn’t be any of your landlord’s business, if it could cause damages or attract pests, you may be violating your lease agreement, which could lead to eviction. But keeping your apartment clean also has many other benefits;
Lowering Your Bills; Keeping your appliances clean allows them to run as efficiently as possible, which helps lower your utility bills! Cleaning out your refrigerator and getting rid of old food clogging up your shelves will help it run more efficiently. Keeping your microwave, oven, and stovetop clean will help you save money on electricity and avoid unpleasant odors and smoke. If your apartment has a washer and dryer, keeping them clean can help avoid mildew smells and lint build-up.
Improving Allergies; Dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming regularly can help prevent allergen buildup, such as dust and pet dander, and improve allergy symptoms in you or your family. It can also help protect your electronic devices, such as laptops, televisions, and gaming consoles. Dust can build up in your electronics and cause issues such as overheating and malfunctions.
Avoiding Pests; Part of your responsibility as a renter is to avoid attracting pests such as insects or rodents. An untidy living space may contribute to an infestation of pests that could not only affect your apartment but the entire rental complex.
Reduced Cleaning Costs; Keeping your apartment generally tidy can also help you avoid additional cleaning costs being taken out of your security deposit. While certain cleaning expenses are unavoidable when you move out, you can save money by keeping up with your cleaning while you were there.
Maintenance Outlined in Your Rental Agreement:
When signing your rental agreement, make sure to ask about any repairs or maintenance that you will be responsible for. These are typically simple things, such as replacing light bulbs or air filters. However, depending on your rental agreement and type of rental, other maintenance may be expected.
-If you are renting a home or townhome, you may be responsible for yard maintenance or clearing sidewalks or your driveway of snow.
-If your apartment has a balcony or patio, there may be expectations or requirements to keep that area clean and clutter-free, as it may affect the outside appearance of the apartment complex.
-Discuss trash removal. If renting a single-family home, you may be responsible for trash removal. While in an apartment, you may need to take your trash to a community bin.
Be sure to discuss these arrangements with your landlord and be aware of what you are responsible for.
Additionally, you are responsible for using your appliances responsibly and in their intended way. Even though landlords are typically responsible for replacing appliances, if an appliance breaks due to misuse, you may be responsible for paying for the replacement.
Repairing Damages You’ve Caused:
Any damages that you or any of your guests caused to the apartment will be your responsibility to repair or pay to be repaired, either directly, or out of your security deposit. This could be small repairs such as spackling holes in the wall from pictures; to larger repairs, such as needing to replace the carpet due to pet odors. However, it’s important to refer to your leasing agreement or talk to your landlord before attempting any repairs yourself. Since the landlord owns the property, they will need to approve repairs or renovations made to the rental.
Also, keep in mind that your Security Deposit is not the ‘maximum’ amount you may be required to pay for damages to your apartment. Many renters mistakenly believe that their security deposit will cover any and all damages they cause to the unit, even if the cost of repairing the damages is higher. In actuality, a landlord has the right to sue renters for additional damages up to the amount of the repair costs.
This is especially true in the case of smoking damages. Illegally smoking in your apartment can result in thousands of dollars in repair costs, as smoke damage is notoriously difficult to remove and may necessitate repainting, flooring replacement, cabinetry replacement, window replacement, and even HVAC system replacement, all of which can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars in damages.
Informing Your Landlord of Issues:
Lastly, it is the renter’s responsibility to inform their landlord or maintenance staff of any maintenance issues in a timely manner. With larger issues, such as an appliance not working, this may seem quite obvious as it actively affects your day-to-day life and you’ll want it fixed as soon as possible. But with smaller issues, it may seem more inconvenient to schedule maintenance staff to come into your apartment than just to live with a small issue; such as an outlet that doesn’t work, or a small leak under the sink. However, ignoring these issues could cause them to turn into larger problems.
A non-functioning outlet could lead to a fire or electrical damage. That leaky pipe could cause water damage or mold growth.
It’s best to report any maintenance issues in a timely manner to avoid additional damages that not reporting the issue may cause. You will also be protecting yourself! If you reported a leaky sink and the landlord never fixed it, you can prove the additional water damage or mold growth was not your fault. This is why reporting issues through your landlord’s email or an online maintenance portal is better than just a phone call, as you can document when the issues were reported and if the landlord ignored your request.
When making a maintenance request, be sure to differentiate between what is a minor or inconvenient maintenance issue, and what is an emergency! Some problems should not be put off until the next day, while other things that seem like an emergency, may take a few days to fix. Learn the difference about what is an emergency maintenance request with our recent blog post on this very topic!
With a little bit of communication with your landlord or leasing office, you can live the home maintenance-free life of your dreams. It’s easy to see why more and more people are choosing apartment living as a way to escape expensive and time-consuming home repairs!
If you are ready to live a maintenance-free life, look no further than the Highlands Apartments in Blacksburg! Our top-notch leasing staff and maintenance team help resolve difficulties as quickly as possible, and our 24-hour emergency service ensures that you are taken care of in the event of a maintenance emergency. If you are ready to say goodbye to home maintenance or are looking for a new apartment community with a staff that cares about you, contact Highlands Apartments today!